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Giving birth is dangerous business for Haiti's poor, who suffer the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. Some 630 of every 100,000 women died of pregnancy-related causes in 2006 -- more than five times the Latin American and Caribbean average, according to the United Nations. The problem is heartbreakingly simple: Millions of women either cannot access health care, or cannot afford it. Haitian health officials made significant strides last year with a program to waive entrance fees -- the equivalent of 25 to 64 cents a day -- for pregnant mothers at public hospitals. But the women must pay for almost everything else, from doctors' gloves and syringes to medicine, food and transportation, said Jacqueline Ramon, a maternity ward nurse at Port-au-Prince's General Hospital.(16 images)

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Severin Carole, 31, gives birth on a mattress on the floor at the maternity ward of Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos


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A girl stands close to a dirty area in the slum of Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, Jan. 28 . Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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Ines Thelisma, pregnant with her fourth child, stands with two of her three children at her shack in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, Jan. 28. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A woman having a contraction, arrives at the maternity ward of Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A mother holds the hand of her new born baby at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 19. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A pregnant woman walks next to the bathrooms of Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A newborn lays at the delivery room of Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A pregnant woman, left, reacts while having a contraction at a Doctors Without Borders maternity hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 19. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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Severin Carole, 31, gives birth on a mattress on the floor at the maternity ward of Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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New born babies lay at the nursery of Doctors Without Borders hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 19. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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Severin Carole, 31, is aided by friends while in labor contractions at the maternity ward of Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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Lorete Wilsimo, 31, front, is aided by a friend at the maternity ward at Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A nurse measures the belly of a woman at the maternity ward Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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A pregnant woman makes her way toward the delivery ward at a Doctors Without Borders maternity hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 19. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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Roseline Frederick, 19, lays next to her new born baby while her mother, left, waits to feed her at Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 12. Haiti has the highest maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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Faraph Jannot, first left, looks on as a relative smiles while holding Jannot's new born baby at Cite Soleil's hospital in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, March 4. AP / Ariana Cubillos



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